About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

15 August 2012

Movie: Sound of My Voice

It is billed as a psychological thriller, though IMO, the movie misses the mark quite a bit. Similar to the book/movie K-Pax in a way, Sound of My Voice revolves around a documentary filmmaker couple who infiltrate a cult around a woman who claims to be from the future. There is no real proof given on why she should be believed, and the movie sort of devolves into a weird exploration of mysticism. There are some other threads that also take place, but they are not really tied together making the plot even more confusing. In the end, it tries to be interesting, but just fails.

14 August 2012

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I bought Mohsin Hamid's "A Reluctant Fundamentalist" at the last Exclusive's sale, only because I didn't finish the book while I was "browsing". It is a gripping tale - one of those that you don't want to put down. It is a combination of a great conversational writing style, witty humour and a great plot - of a young Pakistani man, who succeeds in the top echelons of US academia, is highly successful in a competitive financial services but gives it all away as he becomes disillusioned with western politics. It is a highly entertaining read, and at the same time pushes the question on why fundamentalism (of all types) start out in the first place.

13 August 2012

Movie: The Amazing Spiderman

Spiderman gets a reboot, and I suppose it is better than making endless sequels. This reboot has some great things going for it - there is a lot more character building for Peter Parker, the progression from geek to superhero is well paced and better reasoned and the cinematography, especially in the action sequences, is stunning. 

But there are also a number of problems - for one, he keeps on revealing his identity to people. The movie's final action sequence shows a TV camera following him at the beginning - and this camera magically disappears, as he takes his mask off? He has his mask off, in front of a whole crew of policemen; while rescuing a child etc. 

The villain, just doesn't work. Yes, the rationale that he wants to make everyone powerful and strong makes sense altruistically, doesn't make sense as an action that the villain will want to achieve. There are hints of an underlying subplot, but this seems to have been left for another movie. 

Overall, it is a good action movie - but the reboot is not in the same level as the Batman reboot.

Movie: Shame

Last year, Michael Fassbender was nominated at almost every major film award for his acting in Shame. The main character, is an intensely private person who is a sex addict, and the impact in both his personal and professional life. It is an interesting exploration, not only of the addiction itself, but also of why he needs to keep it a secret. It is an "arty" film - beautiful cinematography, lots of long silences with no dialogue, and no real conclusion - and exceptional acting from Michael Fassbender. It's not a movie for everyone, but certainly a though provoking one.


A stone's throw from one of Pilanesberg's gates, and slightly further from Sun City, are probably the only claims to fame for Mogwase. The B & B (Mogwase Guest House) we stayed at was friendly (with a bit of a quirky architecture) and economical - but there isn't much going for the town itself. 

But what was interesting to observe, is the gulf between South Africa's big cities and towns and smaller towns with regards to security. I didn't spot a single electric fence (other than at Pilanesberg), fences were demarcation of property and not prison walls, gates (if present) were welcoming and not foreboding and doors seemed to be kept unlocked. 

Why the difference? I don't know ...

12 August 2012

Oppikoppi: Day 3

The last day promised the most exciting line-up, with some of the top musical acts in the country. Although, we had initially wanted to go fairly early in the day, we decided to go slightly later in the afternoon to make the most of the later acts.

The tribute to a legend in the South African music scene, Vusi Mahlasela, was the first act of the day. He performed a number of his hits (I have heard at his other appearances), together with some amazing guest artists, including Karen Zoid and Albert Frost. It was a great sundowner concert, and highly enjoyable.

I have never heard of "Eagles of Death Metal", but they drew a humongous crowd. It was an energetic performance by the Californian band, though it wasn't exactly death metal. It was good music, though not something that I would go out and buy a CD for (or even download).

Karen Zoid started her show with an apology, to the non Afrikaners, that not all Afrikaners think like Dan Roodt and Steve Hofmeyer. The rousing response from the crowd was a validation of the statement and her general position on the "Afrikaner mentality", from the massive, predominantly Afrikaner crowd. Her show was a mixture of her new songs (all in Afrikaans), some old favorites and an amazing cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On". It was certainly one of the highlights of the festival, and yet again Karen Zoid nailed a great show.

I didn't spend too much time at Jack Parrow - the little I saw didn't really interest me much; mostly due to the style.

The tipping point in te decision to come to Oppikoppi was to see "Seether", and they didn't disappoint. In front of an absolutely packed stage, they started with the high octane "Gasoline", and finished with the equally high energy "Remedy", and a number of hits in between. The whole crowd singing "Broken" with the band playing the accompanying music was amazing, as were the numerous extended instrumental pieces during the songs. The interaction with the crowd, though minimal compared to some of the other bands was minimal, but felt genuine. The performance was special, and was certainly the highlight of the festival.

The last band of the festival, was British metal band, "Bullet for my Valentine". Although I have heard some of their songs before, I didn't really know their music. Nevertheless, the very high energy show was great, featuring some of the biggest mosh pits I have ever seen. In one of the instrumental solos, the lead guitarist started playing "Nkosi Sikelela Africa", and the amazing thing for me, was the gusto in which the largely white Afrikaner audience sang along; something that underlies the earlier comment made by Karen Zoid. We have truly come far!

Sun City

I have always wondered why Sun City was seen as a holiday destination, but despite driving past a number of times, I have never bothered to find out. So yesterday morning, I went to find out ...

There is a definite theme park vibe, from the gaudy decorations, to the architecture. And while I see the attraction of the Valley of the Waves, the rest of the non hotel areas was rather barren in things to actually do.

As a hotel while going to an evening show, or for a game drive at Pilanesberg, it makes sense; but purely as a holiday destination?